I need help working with decals

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I need help working with decals

Post by StevenGClinard » Tue May 09, 2017 2:26 am

I'm jumping back into the hobby, and am aiming to improve my overall quality. I feel like I have a better handle on construction and painting after spending a number of years doing mini war game figures, but decals have always given me fits. I could just never get them into place without them tearing or crumpling.

I'm thinking of just buying a bunch of throw-away decals to practice with to figure out how to do it before doing my next real model.

I'm mostly looking at building Star Trek models and have a number of unbuilt kits stashed in storage that I'm hoping to start before too long.

First of all, what's my best source for cheap decals to practice with? Is there anything I should specifically look for or avoid, or will a cheap lot of random decals from eBay suffice?

The long stripe decals (such as the red rings on an Enterprise saucer) always gave me the most trouble. Can anyone point me to help with these? Technique or a good place to find similar decals to practice with?

Is it possible for old sheets to go bad and/or is there anything to watch out for with particular brands or types?

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Post by PACinT » Tue May 09, 2017 2:59 am

Older sheets can go brittle and thus have greater breakage.

If one of mine break I fix one part into place with a decal set solution than slide the other one into place and fix it

Decal solvent will make them snuggle down tight.

How do you slide them of the paper? Can vary between designs.

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Post by gsb5w » Tue May 09, 2017 7:14 pm

Sometimes on long decals you might want to cut them into smaller more manageable peices.

I use a combo of micro set and micro sol from microscale.

I also will use future to float the decals on as well with great success.

I have a bottle of Solvaset but haven't used it yet. It was a recommendation from fellow modelers.

Oh, one more thing, always put decals on after a gloss coat of clear.
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Post by DaveVan » Tue May 09, 2017 8:44 pm

Old decals can go bad.....but I've used 40 year old decals with good results.
It mainly depends on how they have been stored. Mine are stored at room temp in a dark area.....model room closet floor.
I have been making decals since I hand painted a logo on paper packing tape back in the 1960's. I now manufacture a decal line (model car hobby)
Here is my way of applying decals. Get some Walthers Solvaset from a hobby shop that sells trains or online at Walthers.

Start with a clean and glossy surface. Use whatever method you like to get there. I like a clear spray like Testors gloss coat or Tamiya.

Regardless of decal type here is how I apply decals.

I cut the decal from the sheet as close to the image as possible. I have a small pair of scissors that are sharp and easy to cut around small images.

Using tweezers I dip the decal in warm water for about 10 seconds.

I place decal on a damp paper towel and allow the decal to ‘cook’ as its called. This can vary by decal paper maker. It can be anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute or two. When decal moves easily on paper backing it is ready to apply.

On surface of model put two or three drops of water. With tweezers place decal on model body where you want to apply. With your finger move the decal image off the paper just enough to use your tweezers to pull the decal paper from under the decal image. This will keep as much air out from under the decal.

Position the decal image in the exact spot you want it. With the slightly damp paper towel blot the water from the decal.

Making sure the decal is positioned in the correct spot, make a squeegee from the damp paper towel and from the center of the decal out to the edge squeegee out all the water and some of the glue. This will keep the decal from turning yellow as it ages.

IF needed I will use Walthers Solvaset decal solution. Go light as it is a strong solvent but works
Well for me.

After the decals dry for a day or two I apply a coat of Future Floor Shine with a 1 in wide soft sable brush that is only used for Future. Allow to dry overnight and all should be good!!!

Good luck!
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Post by Kylwell » Wed May 10, 2017 10:37 pm

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